Now this is cool: scientists have discovered a new technique for studying the brain in action which they call “light-sheet imaging.” They have used it to study the brain of this baby zebrafish, and it’s pretty amazing to watch.
First, you see the fish’s general resting brain activity. There is a bit of activity here and there as the fish is in its neutral state. Then, the scientists create a visual illusion to make the fish feel as if he is drifting backwards, which causes a huge spike of activity in about 80% of the fish brain–involving around 80,000 neurons.
Did you know that to the ancient Egyptians, cinnamon was worth more than gold? That’s because cinnamon was long believed to have healthful and medicinal properties that made it extremely valuable. Cinnamon is excellent for brain health and some rigorous studies have found a variety of neurological benefits that cinnamon offers. Here are 5 proven brain benefits of cinnamon.
Cinnamon may delay or reverse cognitive impairment. A study in rats found that cinnamon improved cognition and reduced oxidation in the brain.
Cinnamon may be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients. A mouse study found that cinnamon protected dopamine production systems and improved motor function in Parkinson’s disease.
Cinnamon may curb food cravings. By targeting a brain chemical involved in glucose and cholesterol, eating cinnamon may decrease food intake and help you lose weight.
Cinnamon’s scent can boost memory in a task. A small human study suggests that merely smelling cinnamon can improve performance several types of memory tasks.
Cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese. Two teaspoons of cinnamon provides about half the RDA of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for brain and body health.
By now, you may have seen commercials or trailers for a new summer blockbuster movie Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. The premise of the movie is that the title character, played by Johansson, is exposed to a substance that gives her access to ALL of her brain power. The tagline of the film reads, “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.” Morgan Freeman repeats this statement in the movie (and in the trailer.) You can watch the preview here:
I wrote recently about some things that can increase or decrease amyloid beta protein in the body, and how the protein plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Now, scientists are working on an eye test that scans for amyloid beta deposits in the retina as a way to detect early Alzheimer’s.
The research is still in its early stages, but so far the results have been promising. Using eye scans that look for clumps of beta amyloid protein as identified by a marker, the scientists have been able to identify Alzheimer’s disease with near-perfect success rates.
I recently read a great article in Runners’ World called The Running Machine Myth. It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in how your brain plasticity processes can shape and affect your physical training goals, and how you can approach training to best apply your brain’s natural ability to grow and change. The world class athletes, coaches, and neuroscientists in the article all agree that in doing so, you can push training to the next level and even improve your marathon time or sprint time.